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Bible translations

Does It Matter What Our Children Are Taught?

By Charline Lemonds Sexton

religion, articles, christianity

In Isaiah 7:14, God promised the people that he would give them a sign, a symbol, a miraculous deed, that they might recognize the emergence of the Messiah when the time came. This promise is a significant basis of our faith in him and in his Son: "Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: behold, a -virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel." Never in the history of the world had a virgin been known to bear a child; this was a sign from God. The King James and the American Standard use the word virgin here. The circumstances of Jesus' conception were most unusual - in fact, unique -as related in Matthew 1:18-23 and Mark 1:26-35. If the sign is merely that a young woman should conceive, that is no sign; thousands of young women are impregnated every day. Yet that is what some "Bible" versions say. How would that fact help the people to recognize this Savior when he came? What are our children taught in regard to Jesus' begettal and birth? The Revised Standard reads thus in Isaiah 7:14: "Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, a young woman shall conceive and bear a son, and call his name Immanuel." The New English Bible also uses the term young woman rather than virgin. Should this matter to Christians?

In The Living Bible Paraphrased, Psalms 51:5 reads: "I was a sinner, yes, from the moment my mother conceived me." This means that the baby (embryo) sinned before he was born. Does it seem likely that God would hold a person responsible for events which took place before he was born? That babies are born in sin and must be baptized or risk being eternally lost is an error taught in denominations. In Mark 1:15, Jesus taught, "The time is fulfilled, the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the Gospel." How could a pre-born child believe or repent?

It is risky to put one's destiny in the hands of a single Bible translator or writer, but such is the case of those who trust entirely on The Living Bible Paraphrased by Dr. Kenneth Taylor. This volume teaches in several places that Christ will return to earth and reign over his kingdom for 1000 years, in spite of the fact that Christ promised that some who were in his presence then would still be living when he established his kingdom and that Paul says that we will meet Christ in the air, with no mention anywhere of Christ's ever setting foot on earth again (Mark 9: 1; I Thess. 4:17). This version has distorted the truth of I Tim. 4:1 to read that Christ will appear "to set up his kingdom" rather that he will "judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom" (King James).

In Ephesians 5:19, the Amplified New Testament advocates that we praise God with the voice and "with instruments." These writers obviously made no effort to stay with the original Word which was "once for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 3 - ASV).

Enthusiasts for the NIV should check closely such passages as Ephesians 1:13, in which the NIV reads, "And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth." Other scriptures teach that we get into Christ when we are baptized, not when we hear (Rom. 6:3-4). This version also uses the term only son instead of only begotten son in such passages as John 3:16; 1:14; 1 John 4:9. There are many such errors in the NIV; in spite of this fact it is used as the basis of some Bible school literature and in many pulpits of the church of Christ. Does it matter whether or not the truth is taught to our brothers, sisters, sons, and daughters if they do not know the difference?


Published July 1993